The women’s basketball team was presented in Madrid loaded with responsibilities, with illusion as fuel and honors as a shield. Before facing the double unprecedented challenge of linking the Valencia European Championship (from June 17 to 27) and the Tokyo Games (from July 23 to August 8) consecutively, with only 25 days of margin between one and another appointment , the team led by Laia Palau launched and received messages of optimism in a lustrous staging. “We are here to fight, compete and improve ourselves, as always. It will be difficult, but we have a great visibility space ahead of us. There are many girls watching us, we represent the community of women who love sports or want to get hooked on it. Ours is also a social commitment. We represent many things and, when we are tired or locked up in the hotel, we have to feel the pride of who we are, the path we have traveled and where we are going ”, explained Palau, who, at 41 years old, has added 12 medals in his curriculum and faces his 18th tournament with the national team and the fourth Games. The great announcement of the event was the agreement reached by the Higher Sports Council, the Generalitat Valenciana and the Spanish Federation that will allow the La Fonteta pavilion to have a minimum of 3,000 spectators in the stands during the championship with a capacity of 9,000 people . “We have already won the medal of visibility,” emphasized Jorge Garbajosa, president of the FEB.
Laia Palau’s Spain returns to the scene two years after winning the seventh consecutive medal in Belgrade on a memorable journey. “The key is humility. We always want to win, although it is very difficult to win after winning. But every year we start from scratch ”, Laia Palau continued in her analysis of the summer. “This time we also face a generational change and the challenge will be, once again, to reach our maximum. We can play a very cool game and, if we reach our maximum, it is the rivals who have to worry because we are beasts. There is a lack of players who have been very important to the history of this team, but this is life. We are the ones we are here to continue building ”, completed the captain, leading the group of 17 players from which the final 14 will emerge.
Palau itself (298 caps), Silvia Domínguez (180), Alba Torrens (170), Laura Gil (118) and Astou Ndour (64) represent the recognizable core of the golden age of the women’s team. With Cristina Ouviña, Queralt Casas, Leo Rodríguez, María Conde and the return of Leticia Romero and Tamara Abalde, as representatives of the intermediate link of medalists that consolidate a group in transition. And Maite Cazorla (23 years old) and Raquel Carrera (19) as emblems of the thriving generational change that is joined by Laura Quevedo, Nogaye Lo, Paula Ginzo and the newcomer Laia Flores. “It would be a great success to get the eighth consecutive medal,” said Lucas Mondelo. “We have the support of Valencia, which is a basketball city and will push us as Tenerife did in 2018,” said the coach, concerned about the care of the group in the face of the demands that are coming. “On a technical and physical level we will be fine, I have no doubts. But you have to take good care of your head. These players have fought this year for all the titles at the highest level and they do not reserve anything. They are like that and that is why they win. We will focus on the Eurobasket because we can turn history into legend. And then we’ll look at the Games ”, Mondelo closed.
Spain, framed in group A, with Sweden, Belarus and Slovakia as the first rivals, faces the challenge of winning its fourth European Championship in five editions after the golds of 2013 in Orchies, 2017 in Prague and 2019 in Belgrade. An unparalleled domain since the times of the unattainable USSR, which achieved 21 golds in the 23 editions held between 1938 and 1991. So far this century, Spain has added nine medals (three golds, one silver and five bronzes) in 10 Europeans. (He only missed the podium in 2011). “This selection represents one of the great elements for hope, to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sport has to be a lever for recovery, transformation and resilience and this team represents like no one else the promotion of the Spain brand. To regain self-esteem and the idea of a common project ”, added the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, in a ceremony that was also attended by the Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís and the General Director of Communication of Endesa , Ignacio Jiménez among other institutional representatives.
The women’s team leaves today for Valencia to start a preparation that will include six friendly matches. After the first days of work in L’Alqueria, the team will head to Toulouse, where they will face a double confrontation against France on Sunday 23 (17:45), and Monday 24 May (16:05). Córdoba will then host a triangle match with Nigeria (Thursday, June 3, 9:00 p.m.) and Belgium (Saturday, June 5, 6:45 p.m.) as rivals. And, again in Valencia, the set-up will be closed with another triangle against Turkey (Thursday 10, 20:30) and Italy (Saturday 12, 20:30).